Monday, July 21, 2014

Erica's #90 - Order Barkbox for the Boys

Yes, our dogs are spoiled, it's true.

Even though, we decided we would spoil them just a little bit more and order this thing called Barkbox.  You know that new craze where you sign up to receive a box of something (makeup, organic snacks, kids stuff) once a month, and its mostly a surprise?  Well they have that concept for dogs now...

I spotted a Groupon for BarkBox at a really great discount (because I'm nothing if not cheap!), and signed the boys up.  Basically the concept is you tell them the size of your dog, and they send you a box of random goodies once a month for your dog to enjoy - about 4-5 treats or toys.  The treat part is iffy with our "special" guy Louie, who has food allergies and is on a limited ingredient diet (only the best fish and sweet potato food for him - cha ching!), but Rudy will inhale anything :)  And Louie would rather have the toys anyway!

The Groupon was for a 3-month subscription, so here are the photos and items from each month:

Month 1:

  • Apple Cobbler Snicky Snacks (these actually smelled good to me!)
  • Grain Free Jerky Chews
  • Clean Carrot Crisp (Chew bone)
  • Bionic stick toy (Louie loves chasing this thing!)
Month 2:

  • Two stuffed squeaker toys (the boys have to be supervised with these - anything stuffed is almost immediately destroyed!)
  • Grain Free Chicken Cordon Bleu Treats
  • I think the rawhide looking thing was a flavored venison hide - they loved it!
Month 3:

  • Green Bark Gummies (for joint health - grain free)
  • Beef Liver and Banana treats (Lou can't have these, poor guy!)
  • Benebone (bacon flavored - definitely a hit!)
  • Silly bums stuffed squeaky toy in the shape of a monkey's butt!  This is my personal favorite - talk about creativity :)
Both boys get so excited to see this box sitting on the counter - Louie can't help himself and jumps up to try to get into whatever is in there!  It's entertaining getting a surprise for them each month, and is fun for us to see what shows up too, so they may get to keep it coming even now that the Groupon pricing is gone :)

Mel's #25 and Erica's #11 - Visit Erica's Parents in Southern California

I'm lucky enough to say that, for the first 29 years of my life, I never lived further than a 45 minute drive from my parents.  Even when they moved up to the 'burbs of Chicago in 2010, we could still load the dogs up in the car and make the 4 hour drive up to visit for a weekend.  About a year and a half ago though, my dad decided to retire from one job and accepted an offer for Southern California.  My parents picked up and moved out to Menifee, CA over a year ago, and we'd only been able to see them a few times since when they've come out to visit us.  We decided it was time to take a trip out to visit them, and braved Fourth of July weekend in the airport to do it.

The trip out was slightly stressful - we didn't get on our first flight out of Indianapolis, there was a tropical storm/hurricane on the East Coast which screwed up a lot of flights across the country, and we spent longer than we'd like to in the Houston airport, but ended up making our delayed flight to San Diego.  We got in late Thursday night, and after the hour long drive from the San Diego airport to my parents place, got the short tour of the house my parents are renting, and crashed.  It had been one heck of a long day!

The plan for Friday, the 4th of July, was to take in a Padres game in San Diego (the real reason we were going was to cheer on the Padres opponents - the Giants!).  We putzed around the house in the early morning - I woke up much earlier than everyone else and got in some FaceTime with my favorite little stinkers Cooper and Katy back in Indiana.  Then once we were all up and ready, we headed out to Cabrillo National Monument, at the southern tip of a peninsula in San Diego.  It was a beautiful day, and the view of San Diego from the monument was very nice!  The drive to the stadium was beautiful, along the coast, past marinas and parks where people were staking out their claims on the grass for the impending fireworks shows later that evening.  We grabbed lunch and some cold brews at the ballpark, and settled in for an afternoon of baseball.  The weather was beautiful, and even though the Giants lost, it was a fun way to spend the day!
 We closed out the day driving up the coast to La Jolla, pulled the beach chairs out of the back of the car, and watched the sunset from a gorgeous beach.  After some tasty In-N-Out Burgers for dinner, we passed out from exhaustion again.

Saturday was beach day.  We loaded up the cooler in the car, and took the scenic and windy route over a pass out to the coast.  After grabbing some Subway sandwiches, we hauled our crap out to the beach in Oceanside (with a ton of other people), enjoyed our picnic lunch, and took to the water - well at least my dad and I did.  The surf was unusually strong that day, and, after getting pummeled for a few minutes (the most amusing part being my mom struggling to stand up again while laughing after a wave took her down), Mel and my mom decided to retire to the beach tent and enjoy the water from afar.
You can't really keep me out of the ocean, so I spent the day trying to ride the waves on the boogie boards my parents picked up for our visit.  The undertow was extremely strong, and I spent a good deal of time walking back up the beach after being pulled hundreds of yards down it while out in the water.  I was happily exhausted by the time we packed up and headed back to the car, intent on picking up Chipotle for dinner and enjoying our meal on my parent's back patio.  Another rewarding day!

Sunday was...Disneyland Day!  I hadn't been to Disneyland since middle school, and Mel had never been, so we were thrilled to get the opportunity to visit while we were there.  My mom and Disneyland practically grew up together (they were both born in the same year!), and my family had made many Disneyland pilgrimages when I was a kid growing up in the Bay Area.  I have so many fond memories of Disney as a kid, the only thing missing was my bro this time!  We hit up just about all of the rides at least once (even It's a Small World, which my dad used to sleep on when we were little), and hit our favorites (Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad) quite a few more times.
 It was the strangest day at Disney - the longest we ever waited was 30 minutes, and that was only for a few of the slow-loading rides.  We expected the worst, being that it was still a holiday weekend!  Even the ride operators commented on how they never, ever see days like this, and we happened to pick the best time to visit!
The one downer to the day is that I started to get a scratchy throat, like I was getting sick, and by dinner time, I was feeling pretty miserable and had a full-on cold.  After several trips on Thunder Mountain during the fireworks show, one last ride on the Matterhorn, and Space Mountain, we headed out of the park.  We got a hotel near LAX for the night so we could get an early start in the morning, and said goodbye to my parents as they headed back home.

We really did have the greatest time visiting them, and packed so much fun into just three days!  I did have a rather miserable couple of flights home the next day, with a painful cold/sinus infection, but I survived, even if I did have to miss the next day of work and spend it sick in bed instead.  I think it was worth it to see my parents for a few days and have more fun than should be allowed :)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Erica's #45 - Go to a Soccer Game

Soccer was my sport growing up - I played from age 7 through 17.  My family spent weekends on the soccer fields (especially when my younger bro was playing too).  And it wasn't just in the warm months - when we couldn't play outside in the Winter, we were playing indoors.

After high school, I stopped playing soccer.  I went to a huge state school, and there was no way I was going to make a Division 1 team, and honestly I needed a little break, so I let my love of the sport wane.  I've toyed with the idea of getting some 30-something friends together to play indoor soccer again, but it's tough these days to commit to a regular schedule of games during the week!  Maybe someday...

Indianapolis finally got a national-level soccer team this year!  This is Indy Eleven's inaugural season, and so far, they've sold out every game they've played in town!  We'd been waiting for a weekend when we didn't already have other plans to buy tickets, and when my work offered them at a discount, we went ahead and planned to attend the May 31st match against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders.

It worked out that my parents were coming to town for a visit that weekend, so we ended up going to the game with them, Mel's parents, and Mel's sister and nephew.  We sat in the "Brickyard Batallion" section, which is the loud, general admission, cheering section for the team.  We got there early to get seats in the front to avoid all the crazy people standing in front of us, and enjoyed a fun evening of soccer.  It was a beautiful night, and we had a good time even if the Eleven didn't manage to win!

I also ran into an old soccer pal that I hadn't seen since high school.  And we ran into Mel's cousin's family too - small world :)